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We absolutely can reduce the ecological footprint of humanity all the way down to zero!
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The 10 Greenest Cities in the World » Greener Ideal

The 10 Greenest Cities in the World » Greener Ideal | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Check out ten of the greenest cities in the world. All of these cities have implemented some wonderfully green initiatives and boast some awesome attractions that make them superb green getaways.

 

Portland, OregonThis beautiful city in the northwestern region of the US boasts some fantastic views of the mountains, but it is also tops the list for being a green city with its “gray to green” initiative.

 

Reykjavik, Iceland

This city has no reason not to be green. Built over a vast resource of underground hot springs, the city has harvested this heat to create the largest geo-thermal system in the world.

 

Curitiba, Brazil


Prepare to be inspired by this amazing green city.  

Recycling is a major initiative in Curitiba. Those in the poorest areas are encouraged to recycle through incentives that allow them to trade trash for locally grown produce. 

Malmo, SwedenHamburg, GermanyLondon, United KingdomVancouver, CanadaCopenhagen, DenmarkBogota, ColumbiaMelbourne, Australia



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Earth, 2100 AD: Four futures of environment and society - environment - 03 October 2013 - New Scientist

Earth, 2100 AD: Four futures of environment and society - environment - 03 October 2013 - New Scientist | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Climate models and the latest IPCC data reveal four possible futures for global population, economy and environment at the end of this century.

 

It is important to stress that these are just four of the many possible scenarios and ways to cut emissions. But we feel the value of the exercise is in showing how much of the outcome is still in our hands and down to the choices and trade-offs we make as individuals and as society as a whole.


1: Geoengineered safety

Population 9 billion
Global energy use 8 × 1020 joules
CO2 concentration 400 ppm, dropping

 

We acted early in the 21st century, invested aggressively in renewable energies and crucially, geoengineering


It wasn't easy, but by investing heavily in R&D, we have built systems for sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing it underground. At the same time, we have invested in renewable energies and virtually weaned ourselves off fossil fuels. The net result: annual carbon emissions have plummeted, and atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are finally dropping.

 

Crucial to making this happen was the spread of bioenergy power plants coupled to carbon storage facilities – a soft form of geoengineering. We grew trees and plants to burn and produce electricity. They suck CO2 out of the atmosphere as they grow. We captured the greenhouse gases produced when we burn trees, and put the gases in geological seams deep underground – where they will stay for centuries or more.

 

Global temperatures have held steady since 2050. We've also halted the decline of sea ice in the Arctic and slowed ocean acidification. Sea levels are still rising, though, because of heat stored in the system from earlier emissions.



Via Flora Moon
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

I vote for number 1.

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22 years till we blow the 2°C Carbon Budget

22 years till we blow the 2°C Carbon Budget | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Our current emissions path will leave us committed to more than  2°C of warming in just 22 years.  It would also commit us to much more warming beyond that given the economic inertia of global carbon emissions.


In fact the 2°C carbon budget is so stringent that even if global carbon emissions stopped growing and remained flat for the coming decades we would still break the 2°C budget in 2041, less than 30 years from now.


In the graphic above we show the speed at which we exhaust the 2°C  budget based on different annual emissions growth rate scenarios.


The first one is the same as our initial chart and shows that if emissions grow at 2% each year we break the 2°C budget in 2035.  In the second we see that if annual emissions remain constant at a 2011 level we break the 2°C budget in 2041.  The third shows that if annual emissions decline at 2% per year we will break the 2°C budget in 2058.


The gap between where we are and where we need to be is enormous.


We have a coal problem.  We have an oil problem.  We have a gas problem.  We have a deforestation problem.

 

WE HAVE A CARBON PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!

 

And our lack of ambition in dealing with it is quite astonishing.


Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Shutting down fossil fuel burning, and ramping up renewable energy to 100% must occur as soon as possble, but moreover, it must occur as soon as NECESSARY!


The fourth graphic shows we must immediately start decreasing carbon emissions by 3.5% per year.  Or if we wait til 2020, we'll have to reduce emissions twice as fast and maybe still fail in half the time.

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Sustainable Livestock Production is Possible

Sustainable Livestock Production is Possible | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

25 September 2013, University of Cambridge -- "New research advocates use of pastures with shrubs and trees as it is more sustainable, improving animal welfare and increasing biodiversity.


Consumers are increasingly demanding higher standards for how their meat is sourced, with animal welfare and the impact on the environment factoring in many purchases. Unfortunately, many widely-used livestock production methods are currently unsustainable. However, new research out today from the University of Cambridge has identified what may be the future of sustainable livestock production: silvopastoral systems which include shrubs and trees with edible leaves or fruits as well as herbage.

 

When ruminants, such as cows, goats and sheep, are consuming the plants from a silvopastoral system, researchers have seen an increase in growth and milk production. [...] As the numbers of animals per hectare was much greater, production of good quality milk per hectare was four to five times greater on the silvopastoral system. 


One of the additional benefits of using the silvopastoral system is that it increases biodiversity. Biodiversity is declining across the globe, and the main culprit is farming – 33% of the total land surface of the world is used for livestock production.  If farmers were to switch to sustainable livestock production methods, such as the silvopastoral system, the result would be much greater biodiversity with no increase in land use.

 


Via GR2Food
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

This sounds better than current practice, particularly for milk production. Is it also better for sequestering more carbon in the soil?

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The balancing act of producing more food sustainably - U Oxford (2013)

The balancing act of producing more food sustainably - U Oxford (2013) | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

A policy known as sustainable intensification could help meet the challenges of increasing demands for food from a growing global population... The goal of sustainable intensification is to increase food production from existing farmland... This would minimise the pressure on the environment in a world in which land, water and energy are in short supply, highlighting that the environment is often overexploited and used unsustainably. 

 

The authors, university researchers and policy-makers from NGOs and the UN, outline a new, more sophisticated account of how 'sustainable intensification' should work... The article stresses that while farmers in many regions of the world need to produce more food, it is equally urgent that policy-makers act on diets, waste and how the food system is governed. The authors emphasise that there is a need to produce more food on existing rather than new farmland because converting uncultivated land would lead to major emissions of greenhouse gases and cause significant losses of biodiversity.

 

Sustainable intensification is the only policy on the table that could create a sustainable way of producing enough food globally, argues the paper – but, importantly, this should be only one part of the policy portfolio... Producing more food is important but it is only one of a number of policies that we must pursue together.

 

Increasing productivity does not always mean using more fertilisers and agrochemicals as these technologies frequently carry unacceptable environmental costs, argue the authors. They say that a range of techniques, both old and new, should be employed to develop ways of farming that keep environmental damage to a minimum... 

 

Lead author Dr Tara Garnett... said: 'Improving nutrition is a key part of food security as food security is about more than just calories. Around two billion people worldwide are thought to be deficient in micronutrients. We need to intensify the quality of the food we produce in ways that improve the nutritional value of people's diets, preferably through diversifying the range of foods produced and available but also, in the short term, by improving the nutrient content of commonly produced crops...

 

Agriculture is a potent sector for economic growth and rural development in many countries across Africa, Asia and South America. Co-author Sonja Vermeulen, from the CGIAR Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), said: 'It is sustainable intensification that can provide the best rewards for small-scale farmers and their heritage of natural resources. What policy-makers can provide is strategic finance and institutions that support sustainable and equitable pathways, rather than quick profits gained through depletion.'

 

Original article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1234485


Via Alexander J. Stein
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Feeding the World Sustainably: Agroecology vs. Industrial Agriculture

Feeding the World Sustainably: Agroecology vs. Industrial Agriculture | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
There are currently 1 billion people in the world today who are hungry. There's also another billion people who over eat unhealthy foods.

 

Food production around the world today is mostly done through industrial agriculture, and by judging current issues with obesity, worldwide food shortages, and the destruction of soil, it may not be the best process. We need to be able to feed our world without destroying it, and finding a more sustainable approach to accomplishing that is becoming more important.

 

The current system contributes to 1/3 of global emissions, is a polluter of our world’s water resources, and is a contributor to health problems. Industrial agriculture relies on mass produced, mechanized labor-saving policies that have pushed people out of rural areas and into cities, consolidating land and resources into fewer hands.

 

Agroecology looks to reduces agriculture’s impact on climate by working within natural systems. This is especially beneficial in rural areas, because the local community a major part of the growing process. The approach can conserve and protect soil and water — through terracing, contour farming, intercropping, and agroforestry — especially beneficial in areas where farmers lack modern irrigation infrastructure, or have farms situated on hillsides and other difficult farming sites.


Via Lauren Moss
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Clearly industrial agriculture is not sustainable, and must be replaced entirely with systems that reverse the current damage and restore the balance that used to exist before we messed things up.  We can use plants and animals not only to feed ourselves, but to *improve* the environment for all life on the planet.

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Global food waste explained (with 5 tomatoes)

The world only eats a little more than half the food it grows. The rest is fed to animals, makes fuel, is lost in the supply chain or wasted by consumers. 

 

From: http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/global-food-waste-tomatoes

 

Here is the rough breakdown in per capita terms.

Animal feed:  88 kg (194 lbs)Biofuel production:  15 kg (33 lbs)Supply losses: 139 kg (305 lbs)Consumer waste: 52 kg (114 lbs)Consumption: 375 kg (825 lbs)

 

As I mentioned in the intro food has a huge environmental footprint:  24% of greenhouse gas emissions, 40% of land use, 70% of water use and 75% of deforestation.  Even more disturbing is the reality that the world produces enough calories to feed 14 billion people, but 800 million remain hungry.  While this is a complex issue, food waste contributes to this problem.

 

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We need more people with complete sustainability literacy - Blue and Green Tomorrow

We need more people with complete sustainability literacy - Blue and Green Tomorrow | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Sustainability is probably the most important global issue that is least talked about. In essence it’s the need to follow the care instructions for the planet upon which we and our future generations depend.

 

We can define what a sustainable society is and have the ability to actively create the systems and undertake the behaviours that move towards that vision of success, yet if we look at almost every sustainability indicator, we are accelerating towards the cliff edge, in some cases the point of no return.

 

Having worked in the field for the last 20 years, I have found that there is still a lack of the core understanding of what we mean by ‘sustainability’ and a huge gap in any approach to strategically achieve it from local to global levels.

 

The danger lies in that if we only partially ‘get’ sustainability, we will only partially create the sustainability outcomes we need. Having people with a complete sustainability literacy, a common language that can be applied across policy, business and society would eliminate confusion, providing the clarity to make decisions to holistically move us towards our goal.


Via Zsolt Tinelly
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

For me, true "complete" sustainability requires nothing less than Zero Footprint.  Actually, a negative footprint would be better, but that would be *more* than a zero footprint, since, oh never mind. Need more better words.

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The Circular Economy: Could it present a new way of doing business?

The Circular Economy: Could it present a new way of doing business? | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

 

Guardian Sustainable Business, September 25, 2013

Look closely at the challenges facing our world and the circular economy makes business sense.

 

Companies are turning to a new model of sustainable business in an effort to reduce their dependence on finite resources.

 

The sense that our planet is running out of the minerals, metals and organic matter required to sustain its rising human population has helped to fashion a new concept for our times: the circular economy. At its core is the argument that the old, linear model of conducting business – extraction, consumption and waste – is past its sell-by date.

 

To its standard bearers, the circular economy promises a radical break with the past. Materials should not be cast away and expended, rather they should be re-used and replenished, so the argument goes. But how transformative is this new philosophy and to what extent does it present an opportunity for business? Is it a revolutionary reimagining of economic theory or merely a recycling of, well, recycling?

 

In practice, it means opting for reusable materials in design, ending wasteful manufacturing processes, embracing renewables, shunning toxic chemicals and developing new markets for repurposed products. It presents a step change in business strategy, Butterworth says, because it replaces the "end-of-life" concept with restoration.



 

CHECK OUT THE GUARDIAN'S NEW "CIRCULAR ECONOMY HUB"

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/circular-economy

 

TWITTER LIST: TOP 10 TWEETERS ON THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/twitter-list-top-10-circular-economy

 

Guardian Sustainable Business, January 31, 2012
A CIRCULAR ECONOMY TACKLES THE ROOT PROBLEMS OF OVERCONSUMPTION  http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/circular-economy-business-models

 

January 17, 2013 YES Magazine

RELIGION, SCIENCE AND SPIRIT: A SACRED STORY OF OUR TIME. Humanity’s current behavior threatens Earth’s capacity to support life and relegates more than a billion people to lives of destitution http://sco.lt/8rb8DZ

 

THE WORLD IS SITTING ON A CONSUMPTION TIME BOMB  http://sco.lt/7sR3eT

 

A CULTURE SEPARATED FROM NATURE CANNOT SURVIVE: BANKRUPTING NATURE http://sco.lt/7HFVYH

 

ECONOMIC SUCCESS ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH TO IMPROVE OUR WELL BEING http://sco.lt/7J7VnF

 

WHY GOOGLE AND SONY ARE TURNING TO NATURE TO INSPIRE THEIR LEADERS. The Wisdom of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh  http://sco.lt/81MvkP

 

                                                -- WATCH --

                                                   "HOME"

                               An Exquisite Story of Our Planet

http://thenaturaleye.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/home-an-exquisite-story-of-our-world/

 

 


Via pdjmoo
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Zero Footprint requires a circular economy, where all outputs must be accounted for as inputs elsewhere in the economy, where the entire lifecycle of all products is factored in, where 100% of waste becomes raw resources, powered by 100% renewable energy.

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pdjmoo's curator insight, December 5, 2014 6:44 PM

YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY OTHER NEWS AGGREGATES @pdjmoo 

 

▶  CLIMATE CHANGE http://www.scoop.it/t/changingplanet

▶  BIODIVERSITY http://www.scoop.it/t/biodiversity-is-life

▶  OUR OCEANS http://www.scoop.it/t/our-oceans-need-us

▶  OUR FOOD http://www.scoop.it/t/agriculture-gmos-pesticides

 ▶ CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY http://www.scoop.it/t/environmental-and-human-health


Nuno Gaspar de Oliveira's curator insight, January 4, 2015 2:12 PM

The Circular Economy: Rethinking 'Progress' - A new way of thinking and doing business

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US Wastes 61–86% Of Its Energy

US Wastes 61–86% Of Its Energy | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Originally published on Outlier, Opower's blog.
by Barry Fischer, Opower's head writer

An updated analysis published last month by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory suggests that the USA is just 39% energy efficient.

 

The predominance of inefficiency is conveyed by the energy-flow diagram below: it shows the country’s energy fuel inputs (e.g. coal, natural gas) on the left side, and end-use energy consumption (e.g. residential, industrial, transportation) on the right side.

 

One should not expect any economy, power plant, or car to be 100% efficient. Indeed, the Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that achieving perfect thermal efficiency is as possible as unscrambling an egg. But 39% efficiency? It certainly leaves some major room for improvement.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Fossil fueled vehicles necessarily waste a large percentage of energy as heat.  The same is true for any other energy derived from fossil fuels, unless it is used as food for plants and we don't end up burning the biomass.  Electric vehicles can be much more efficient, and the electricity can come from 100% renewable sources.

 

It is important to recognize that Zero Footprint does *not* mean we must get to 100% efficiency.  That *would* be impossible.  Once we are using only 100% renewable energy, it is OK to waste some.   But 100% recycling of all resources is also necessary, and that will be more challenging to achieve.

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Green: Vegetation on Our Planet (Tour of Earth)

Although 75% of the planet is a relatively unchanging ocean of blue, the remaining 25% of Earth's surface is a dynamic green. Data from the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite is able to detect these subtle differences in greenness. The resources on this page highlight our ever-changing planet, using highly detailed vegetation index data from the satellite, developed by scientists at NOAA. The darkest green areas are the lushest in vegetation, while the pale colors are sparse in vegetation cover either due to snow, drought, rock, or urban areas. Satellite data from April 2012 to April 2013 was used to generate these animations and images.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Understanding the cycles of plant life around the planet is critical to gaining the necessary self-control over human-caused environmental impacts.

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Power to the People, 100% Renewable Energy for All! | Online Solutions Forum | IWECI

Power to the People, 100% Renewable Energy for All! | Online Solutions Forum | IWECI | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

It is a fact that non-renewable energies will, by definition, run out. It is also a fact that in the meantime, dependence on these energy sources is causing multiple global crises.  If we are to preserve modernity and planetary habitability, we must soon shift to 100% renewable energy in all sectors. Despite this basic logic, most of humanity so far has taken measures nowhere near proportional to the problem.

 

One fundamental necessity to breaking the inertia is a robust, global call for a 100% renewable energy target. After all, if a critical mass of people does not set the required goal, we are far less likely to achieve it.

 

The Renewable Energy Policy Institute with key partners has established itself as a leader of this critical call for action. The mission of the Renewables 100 Policy Institute is to focus on creating the foundation for the successful transition to a 100% renewable energy future. Of critical importance are the areas of policy making, technical solutions demonstrated by real life project applications, grassroots education and strategic partnerships with other NGOs and organizations, and effective stakeholder outreach on all levels.

 

Many cities, communities and countries already have 100% renewable energy targets, some of them have already reached those targets and are achieving more than 100% of locally generated renewable energy for details, please see www.renewables100.org and related links.

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Four Charts That Prove the Future of Clean Energy Is Arriving : Greentech Media

Four Charts That Prove the Future of Clean Energy Is Arriving : Greentech Media | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
“We are living it, and it is gaining force.”

 

It would be hard for most Americans to look around and conclude that we are in the middle of an historic shift in our energy sector. Gas-powered cars still dominate the roads, most of us don't own a solar PV system, and more than 70 percent of homes still rely on 100-year-old incandescent light bulbs.

 

But within the energy industry, there are major improvements in the economics of renewables, electric vehicles and lighting that are accelerating an increasingly rapid shift in certain sectors.

 

A new report from the Department of Energy report lays out some of these advances in wind, solar PV, LED lighting and electric vehicles throughout the U.S. They're worth a look.


Framing these trends as proof that the "clean energy economy" is now upon us would be a stretch. If anything, it shows how much experience an industry needs to bring down costs. But these are signs that some pretty big changes are underway in the energy industry -- and Americans are increasingly going to see these changes not just in colorful charts, but in their neighborhoods.

 

"The trends in each sector show that the historic shift to a cleaner, more domestic and more secure energy future is not some far away goal. We are living it, and it is gaining force," conclude the authors of the DOE report.


Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

All the charts show the same kind of trend, with costs falling fairly regularly, while deployment rises exponentially.  What's not shown here is the competition, which we should expect to drop exponentially once a threshold is reached where they can no longer compete and the clean alternatives take over.

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We've all we need to make a sustainable world: here's how it can be achieved

We've all we need to make a sustainable world: here's how it can be achieved | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Jonathan Porritt: Just about everything we need to create a sustainable future is available – or on the drawing board. The only thing missing is the political will to get it financed and deployed.

 

The World We Made is written from the vantage point of 2050, looking back to tell the story of how we got from where we are today (in one hell of a lot of trouble, both environmentally and socially) to be living in a fair, high-tech and genuinely sustainable world by 2050. It celebrates the genius of the scientists, engineers, activists and entrepreneurs whose breakthroughs and courage made this world possible.

 

And it's absolutely not science fiction. I've spent a huge amount of time over the past couple of years delving into the innovation pipeline for all the key technology areas on which our sustainable future depends: energy, water, waste management, land use, resources and so on. Practically everything we need to fashion a sustainable world for nine billion people is either out there, on the drawing board or in the lab. And the pace of change is extraordinary; the wealth creating potential quite staggering.

 

But without the political will to get all that financed and deployed – at a massive scale, in the shortest period of time possible, all around the world – the pipeline stays locked.


Via Organic Social Media
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Organic Social Media's curator insight, October 3, 2013 6:37 PM

The World We Made isn't just about technology; it's about political protest and the power of the internet to transform people's lives. It's about a new generation of inspired business leaders who seek to fill the void vacated by blind, bigoted politicians. It's about religious and faith leaders, waking up to the true meaning of what all their sacred texts tell us about stewardship, justice and personal responsibility.

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Can the economy go full circle?

Can the economy go full circle? | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

The circular economy, recycling products after use, is cheap and environmentally friendly – but is it up to companies, consumers or the government to drive it forward? 

 

A circular economy has long been a very good idea. Rather than using raw materials to make products that are then thrown away, a circular system recycles products after use back into the manufacturing process. Also known as "closed loop" or "cradle-to-cradle", it makes good business sense: procurement and sourcing is more secure and transparent, it's cheaper and also happens to be much more environmentally friendly. But if that's the case, why aren't more companies doing it? And what can be done to move the circular economy into the mainstream?


There are many barriers in the way, however, of a circular or shared economy. It requires a lot of joined-up thinking, cross-sector collaboration and enlightened government regulation – all of which are currently in short supply. "We need to see a complete reorganisation of production and consumption systems, and companies working much more cleverly together as a horizontal economy", argued Dax Lovegrove

 


Via Flora Moon, SustainOurEarth
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

There is a simple way to motivate rapid change in a fair and self-regulating way:  Include in the cost of goods and services the full cost of removing and recycling 100% of waste.   That includes all waste and pollution resulting from mining, production, etc.   

 

If we don't pay the full cost now, guess who ends up paying many times more?  Think of the children.

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Adam Johnson's curator insight, October 5, 2013 9:53 AM

The Guardian is doing some great work on the circular economy - the hub is a great development.

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The Story of Solutions

The Story of Solutions explores how we can move our economy in a more sustainable and just direction, starting with orienting ourselves toward a new goal.

 

In the current 'Game of More', we're told to cheer a growing economy -- more roads, more malls, more Stuff! -- even though our health indicators are worsening, income inequality is growing and polar icecaps are melting.

But what if we changed the point of the game? What if the goal of our economy wasn't more, but better -- better health, better jobs and a better chance to survive on the planet?

Shouldn't that be what winning means?

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Right on!  This is what I've been saying about sustainable growth. Rather than growing the economy by producing and consuming more stuff, we need to shift to growing smarter, doing stuff better, recycling 100% of everything, and powering everything with 100% renewable energy.

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Hope of greater global food output, less environmental impact of agriculture

Hope of greater global food output, less environmental impact of agriculture | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Can we have enough to eat and a healthy environment, too? Yes -- if we're smart about it, suggests a study published in Nature this week by a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota and McGill University in Montreal.

 

Global demand for food is expected to double by 2050 due to population growth and increased standards of living. To meet this demand, it is often assumed we will need to expand the environmental burden of agriculture. The paper, based on analysis of agricultural data gathered from around the world, offers hope that with more strategic use of fertilizer and water, we could not only dramatically boost global crop yield, but also reduce the adverse environmental impact of agriculture.

 

"This work should serve as a source of great encouragement and motivation for those working to feed the 9-billion-plus people anticipated to live on this planet in 2050 while protecting Earth's indispensible life support systems."


Via David Hodgson
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Existing cropland could feed four billion more by dropping biofuels and animal feed

Existing cropland could feed four billion more by dropping biofuels and animal feed | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
The world's croplands could feed 4 billion more people than they do now just by shifting from producing animal feed and biofuels to producing exclusively food for human consumption, according to new research.

 

Demand for crops is expected to double by 2050 as population grows and increasing affluence boosts meat consumption. Meat takes a particularly big toll on food security because it takes up to 30 crop calories to produce a single calorie of meat. In addition, crops are increasingly being used for biofuels rather than food production.


"The good news is that we already produce enough calories to feed a few billion more people," Cassidy says. "As our planet gets more crowded or we experience disasters like droughts and pests, we can find ways of using existing croplands more efficiently."

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

That we can feed billions people more by feeding people directly says a lot.  Furthermore, we waste about half the food that is finally produced.  And we should be growing crops and livestock in a way that actually *benefits* the soil by sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere.   We have enormous potential for turning things around.

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shrinkthatfootprint.com

shrinkthatfootprint.com | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Carbon footprint reduction strategy

 

Shrink That Footprint is a resource for squeezing more life out of less carbon.

We are an independent research group that provides information to people interested in reducing their climate impact.  Our core focus is understanding, calculating and reducing personal carbon footprints.

 

While your carbon footprint may be small in the scheme of things, the decisions people around the world make about housing, travel, food, products and services pay for 70% of global emissions.

 

Shrink That Footprint is about how we can harness this power with actions, technologies and innovation to create low carbon lifestyles that are both desirable and consistent with a stable climate.

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Henk Akse's curator insight, November 26, 2013 5:35 AM

Is a low carbon lifestyle the answer?

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Towards Permaculture Centres Worldwide

Geoff Lawton explaining the need to establish self-sustaining Permaculture centres around the world. More info: www.ecofilms.com.au

 

From: http://www.permaculturenews.org/about-permaculture-and-the-pri/


The Mission of the Permaculture Research Institute is to work with individuals and communities worldwide, to expand the knowledge and practice of integrated, sustainable agriculture and culture using the whole-systems approach of permaculture design. This will provide solutions for permanent abundance by training local people to become leaders of sustainable development in their communities and countries.


Permaculture integrates land, resources, people and the environment through mutually beneficial synergies – imitating the no waste, closed loop systems seen in diverse natural systems. Permaculture studies and applies holistic solutions that are applicable in rural and urban contexts at any scale. It is a multidisciplinary toolbox including agriculture, water harvesting and hydrology, energy, natural building, forestry, waste management, animal systems, aquaculture, appropriate technology, economics and community development.


The Permaculture Research Institute works to establish a global network of educational demonstration sites, which operate as education centres that seek to replicate themselves across their respective surrounding regions. Each demonstration site seeks to become financially self-sufficient within three years[...]


Permaculture (the word, coined by Bill Mollison, is a portmanteau of permanent agriculture and permanent culture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people — providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Without permanent agriculture there is no possibility of a stable social order.


The philosophy behind permaculture is one of working with, rather than against, nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless action; of looking at systems in all their functions, rather than asking only one yield of them; and allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolutions.


Recycling of nutrients and energy in nature is a function of many species. In our gardens, it is our own responsibility to return wastes (via compost or mulch) to the soil and plants. We actively create soil in our gardens, whereas in nature many other species carry out that function. Around our homes we can catch water for garden use, but we rely on natural forested landscapes to provide the condenser leaves and clouds to keep rivers running with clean water, to maintain the global atmosphere, and to lock up our gaseous pollutants. Thus, even anthropocentric people would be well-advised to pay close attention to, and to assist in, conservation of existing forests and to assist in, the conservation of all existing species and allow them a place to live.


Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Building a worldwide network of permaculture centers that reach every corner of the world where humanity resides will ensure that abundant localized food sources will be available sustainably for all, but moreover, we can begin to effectively reverse the damage to the environment caused by the predominant unsustainable factory agriculture.

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What the IPCC found: The big news from the new climate assessment

What the IPCC found: The big news from the new climate assessment | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

(You could read the 36-page summary of the IPCC's new climate report. Or you could just read this, which is much shorter and tastier.)

 

It’s extremely likely that humans have been the dominant cause of global warming since the 1950s, according to a landmark report from the world’s top panel of climate scientists. And we’re failing in our efforts to keep atmospheric warming below 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 Fahrenheit, which many scientists say is needed to avoid massive disruption.


The IPCC also concludes that oceans have absorbed more of Earth’s excess heat since the 1990s than was the case during prior periods, explaining what climate deniers wrongly describe as a warming slowdown.


More than 90 percent of Earth’s extra heat is being absorbed by the oceans, where it’s affecting currents and causing water to expand, contributing to rising seas.


Oceans have absorbed about 30 percent of the CO2 that we have released into the atmosphere, and that’s what has caused the rise in acidity.

 

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Second Life: Using Recycled Materials For Architecture

Second Life: Using Recycled Materials For Architecture | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Using salvaged stuff not only has a positive environmental impact by reducing waste, it also offers architects materials typically unavailable.


According to the National Association of Homebuilders, “If all the lumber used to build the 1.2 million new homes constructed in the U.S. each year were laid end to end, it would extend 2 million miles—a sobering statistic.


Dutifully sorting waste, separating the metal and plastic from the paper for different recycling streams is part of modern life. Some areas even have food waste collection for community compost.

 

Architects and designers are taking notice of the opportunities offered by recycling and reuse. Using salvaged materials not only has a positive environmental impact by reducing waste, it also offers architects materials typically unavailable, such as old growth lumber.

 

Visit the link for some prescient products and projects using recycled materials for architectural purposes.


Using recycled materials in building is not completely mainstream in the field of architecture. These examples show that being ecologically conscious doesn't have to impact the design and aesthetic of building projects and products.


Via Lauren Moss
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

We need to find uses for 100% of our "waste" and resources that end up in architectural structures will tend to stick around longer before being recycled yet again.

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Gash Tb's curator insight, September 23, 2013 12:08 AM

test

Amber Harsnett's curator insight, September 23, 2013 10:09 AM

I love this look of this building! It looks so organic and natural

Catherine Devin's curator insight, September 27, 2013 5:41 AM

La démarche requiert une structuration des filières de tri, collecte et recyclage sur les matériaux clefs, à une échelle industrielle et régionale si l'on veut généraliser l'emploi des matériaux recyclés et avoir un impact positif significatif sur plusieurs critères de développement durable qu'on pourrait associer au projet.

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Trade and Environment Review 2013 - Wake up before it is too late: Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate | ReliefWeb

Trade and Environment Review 2013 - Wake up before it is too late: Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate | ReliefWeb | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

The Trade and Environment Report 2013 warns that continuing rural poverty, persistent hunger around the world, growing populations, and mounting environmental concerns must be treated as a collective crisis. It says that urgent and far-reaching action is needed before climate change begins to cause major disruptions to agriculture, especially in developing countries.


The Trade and Environment Report 2013 recommends a rapid and significant shift away from “conventional, monoculture-based… industrial production” of food that depends heavily on external inputs such as fertilizer, agro-chemicals, and concentrate feed. Instead, it says that the goal should be “mosaics of sustainable regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers and foster rural development”. The report stresses that governments must find ways to factor in and reward farmers for currently unpaid public goods they provide – such as clean water, soil and landscape preservation, protection of biodiversity, and recreation.



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Daniel LaLiberte's comment, September 23, 2013 8:55 PM
Another fine summary by Anna Lappé: "Wake Up and Smell the Soil! Groundbreaking UN Report on the Paradigm Shift Needed to Feed the Future" at: http://civileats.com/2013/09/18/wake-up-and-smell-the-soil-a-groundbreaking-unctad-report-on-the-paradigm-shift-needed-to-feed-the-future/#sthash.zvy0staK.dpuf 'As my mother, Frances Moore Lappé, has been saying since her seminal 1977 book, Food First, “hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food, but by a scarcity of democracy.”' 'The report includes a trove of data proving the benefits of this paradigm shift, especially as we face an increasingly climate unstable future. In a particularly interesting chapter, Professor Miguel Altieri highlights the growing evidence about the role of sustainable agriculture practices in fostering farm resilience in the face of major climatic events. All the results showed those farmers with greater biodiversity and other agroecologcal qualities fared significantly better post-natural disasters.'
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Phytoremediation: Healing Urban Landscapes through Plants

Phytoremediation: Healing Urban Landscapes through Plants | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Two graduate students present a concept for a former harbor site in north Amsterdam exploring the benefits of phytoremediation.


In the world of modern architecture everything has to be sustainable. If this means that we have to take care of nature and use our resources wisely then maybe phytoremediation can be considered a sustainable method of re-designing highly polluted areas.


Healing, remediating, cleaning, and purifying contaminated soil using plants to extract pollutants is the method of phytoremediation. It is getting attention lately, as it appears to be an effective low-cost and sustainable alternative when dealing with polluted soils. Interlaced into a good landscape design strategy it can save money, improve quality of urban spaces, and provides active and aesthetic uses of polluted areas until they are safe for other uses. 


Three categories of pollution were distinguished: heavily polluted soils, which will take up to 200 years to clean, medium polluted soils (about 60 years to clean), and clean soils. According to the level of pollution, the distribution of public spaces, land use, and accessibility of the areas are defined. Heavily polluted areas are completely closed to access during the purification process, but still visible, providing aesthetical sight of the landscape.


Via Lauren Moss
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Maybe before 200 years we will figure out how to speed up the process.

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Healing the Planet Through Photosynthesis and Carbon Sequestration

Healing the Planet Through Photosynthesis and Carbon Sequestration | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

If we implement wise geoengineering, even eating meat could help tackle the backlog of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere.

 

With the right kind of technology, Pollan believes that eating meat can actually be good for the planet. That’s right: Raising livestock, if done properly, can reduce global warming. That’s just one element of a paradigm shift that Pollan and other experts, including Dennis Garrity, the former director general of the World Agroforestry Center in Nairobi, Kenya, and Hans Herren of the Millennium Institute in Washington, D.C., are promoting. They believe that new agricultural methods wouldn’t just reduce the volume of heat-trapping gases emitted by our civilization — they would also, and more importantly, draw down the total amount of those gases that are already in the atmosphere.


"Depending on how you farm, your farm is either sequestering or releasing carbon," says Pollan. Currently, the vast majority of farms, in the United States and around the world, are releasing carbon — mainly through fertilizer and fossil fuel applications but also by plowing before planting. "As soon as you plow, you’re releasing carbon," Pollan says, because exposing soil allows the carbon stored there to escape into the atmosphere.

 

One method of avoiding carbon release is no-till farming: Instead of plowing, a tractor inserts seeds into the ground with a small drill, leaving the earth basically undisturbed. But in addition to minimizing the release of carbon, a reformed agriculture system could also sequester carbon, extracting it from the atmosphere and storing it — especially in soil but also in plants — so it can’t contribute to global warming.

 

According to Pollan, photosynthesis is "the best geoengineering method we have."


"When you have a grassland, the plants living there convert the sun’s energy into leaf and root in roughly equal amounts. When the ruminant (e.g., a cow) … grazes that grassland, it trims the height of the grass from, say, 3 feet tall to 3 inches tall. The plant responds to this change by seeking a new equilibrium: it kills off an amount of root mass equal to the amount of leaf and stem lost to grazing. The (discarded) root mass is then set upon by the nematodes, earthworms and other underground organisms, and they turn the carbon in the roots into soil. This is how all of the soil on earth has been created: from the bottom up, not the top down."

 

The upshot, both for global climate policy and individual dietary choices, is that meat eating carries a big carbon footprint only when the meat comes from industrial agriculture. "If you’re eating grassland meat," Pollan says, "your carbon footprint is light and possibly even negative."

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

How much meat might a meat eater eat if a meat eater might eat meat?

 

In other words, if we can raise livestock in a way that is actually good for the grasslands by more effectively sequestering carbon in the soil, we still need to figure out how much livestock we can consume that way?  We need to recycle our human waste back into the land as well.

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